November 12, 2018

Monday, November 12, 2018

Census Bureau Study: Focus Groups Identify Barriers to 2020 Census Participation

The U.S. Census Bureau has released the findings of a new study: 2020 Census Barriers, Attitudes and Motivators Study (CBAMS) Survey, which provides insights from focus groups in an effort to shape strategies for increasing participation in the census.

The survey was shared with 50,000 households throughout the U.S. Of those about 17,500 people responded. In total, 42 focus groups were conducted with 11 audiences representing historically undercounted populations.

The study highlights the major barriers facing a complete count in the 2020 census: apathy and efficacy; concerns about data confidentiality and privacy; fear of repercussions; and distrust in government.

Apathy and Efficacy

  • One of the most critical reasons to participate in the census - The data is directly used to allocate federal funding for community resources. Yet, of those surveyed only 45 percent said they believe that’s how the data is used.

    • Census data determines how more than $600 million in federal funding gets allocated. Those funds are used to support critical programs, such as food assistance, housing vouchers, Head Start, healthcare and much more. Michigan’s state budget is comprised of 40 percent of federal funding that's determined by census data.

  • Nearly 41 percent of respondents said being personally counted in the census matters only “moderately,” “a little” or “not at all.”

    • We know that in Michigan, our state stands to lose $1,800 in federal funding per person, per year for 10 years, for each person who isn’t counted in the census.

High Distrust of Government

  • Of those surveyed, 59 percent said they didn’t trust the federal government; 55 percent didn’t trust their state government and 47 percent said they didn’t trust their local government.

Data Confidentiality and Privacy

  • About 28 percent of people said they were “extremely/very concerned” the Census Bureau wouldn’t keep their answers in the census confidential.

  • More explicitly, 24 percent said they were “extremely/very concerned” their answers on the form would be shared with other government agencies.

Fear of Repercussions

  • About 1 in 4 participants said they fear their answers to the census “will be used against them.”

  • The study cites that “the citizenship question may be a major barrier” to participation, based on the responses. Of those surveyed, 37 percent were unsure if the data would be used to locate undocumented individuals and 10 percent believed it would.

The study also provides insights about the key motivating factors to census participation, which can help shape messaging and facilitate conversations about the importance of the 2020 census.

  • Make the connection between participation and community funding. About 30 percent of people said the fact that the census helps determine funding for public services in their community is the most important reason to fill out the form. This shows the importance of raising awareness about how the census data is used and how it directly impacts the local area and issues.

  • Engage trusted voices. The study found that leveraging trusted voices and organizations in the community can mitigate distrust in government. These groups and individuals can facilitate participation by providing factual information about community funding connected to the census and assure their community that “participation is safe.” For instance, one respondent said they would be trusting of the process if their church assured them it was safe.

  • Address knowledge gaps. The study found that there is a lack of knowledge about the census, including its purpose, scope and importance. Providing education and key messaging around this can address issues of trust and concerns about data sharing and privacy.

As CMF reported, the Census 2020 Michigan Nonprofits Count Campaign (NPCC), supported by 20 CMF members, is mobilizing statewide, regional and community-based participation in support of the census to amplify government efforts to ensure a complete, fair and accurate count in Michigan, with a special focus on hard-to-count communities.

The NPCC currently has the largest pool of funds for a state nonprofit census campaign in the U.S.

This effort, led by the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA), will provide trainings and materials for nonprofits on effective outreach tactics, award mini-grants to trusted community-based organizations to engage with the hardest to count populations, facilitate a statewide communications plan and coordinate with federal, state and local government officials.

The campaign’s infrastructure also includes census hubs to serve as the connector between the statewide campaign and the community-based nonprofit organizations doing direct outreach on the ground.  Several CMF member community foundations are serving in this role.

Want more?

Read the full report.

Learn more about CMF's Census 2020 work. 

Connect with the Census 2020 Michigan Nonprofits Count Campaign.






Ending Homelessness in MI

A new report released by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and Michigan’s Campaign to End Homelessness shows that our state is seeing a decrease in the total number of people who are homeless, for the third consecutive year.

The rate of homelessness dropped 9 percent since 2015, including a decrease of more than 5 percent in 2017 alone. The state credits this decline to more coordination among state agencies, service providers and partners.

As the report shares, since last year the state and Campaign to End Homelessness partners have been collaborating on a three-year action plan to reduce homelessness, especially among subpopulations such as veterans and youth, among others.

As the data shows, there are some promising trends but still glaring disparities, showing there’s much more work to be done.

Success stories:

  • The rate of chronic homelessness (those who are continuously homeless for at least one year) in Michigan has decreased by 20 percent since 2015.

  • The rate of homelessness for young adults ages 18-24 has dropped 10 percent, while homelessness for unaccompanied minors under 18 has dropped 6 percent.

  • The number of students experiencing homelessness in Michigan public schools has dropped by 7 percent. However, that rate does not reflect students who may be sleeping at a friend’s or family member’s home.

  • Homelessness among veterans in Michigan has decreased by 7 percent.

Remaining challenges:

  • The report shares that there are still racial disparities in rates of homelessness, as 53 percent of Michigan’s homeless population are African-American, yet only 14 percent of our state’s population is African-American.

  • About 44 percent of people experiencing homelessness in our state also have disabilities. The report categorizes these disabilities as mental health, physical health and/or substance use disorder.

  • The rate of senior citizens experiencing homelessness has increased by 4 percent.

  • The rate of families experiencing homelessness has increased by 7 percent.

  • Only 55 percent of high schoolers experiencing homelessness graduate from high school in four years.

Work to address issues of economic barriers and social determinants of health for certain subpopulations continues on the state level.

The report states in part, “Michigan’s response to homelessness extends past housing. The campaign is working with new partners in other sectors such as healthcare and employment to improve key social determinants of health and increase access to stable income.”

Coordinated, cross-sector efforts are critical to targeting this issue according to the report, since the average monthly income for a person experiencing homelessness is $649 and median rent in Michigan is $835, putting housing out of reach for many.

The state shared that in September, MSHDA approved more than $5.1 million in grants to address homelessness, with the majority of funding focused on “rapidly re-housing homeless individuals and families and homeless prevention efforts.”

Recent highlights of CMF members working to address homelessness include:

  • The Kalamazoo Community Foundation (KCF), which is leading the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) efforts on the ground in Kalamazoo, is serving as a partner to the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) in its development of a racial equity lens to analyze and address issues of affordable housing and homelessness in Kalamazoo. KCF recently shared a two-part blog about this work and is asking the community to provide input in a housing survey.

  • Quicken Loans Inc. launched a new, long-term partnership with Community Solutions to end veteran homelessness across the country, starting in Detroit. As reported, Community Solutions has been working with the Detroit Continuum of Care and its associated agencies to develop a systemic approach to getting people into permanent supportive housing and providing them with the wraparound mental health, job training or other services they might need.

  • McGregor Fund and Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM) both recently awarded grants to the South Oakland Shelter to support the operational side of the shelter and to help the shelter’s HandUp platform expand its reach. HandUp is a crowdfunding project which allows individuals to connect directly with a nonprofit’s campaign or individual’s need and donate to their cause. Both of these CMF members are long-time supporters of the shelter.

Want more?

Read the full report.







Work Underway to Accelerate Postsecondary Attainment

We’re getting a look at the latest data from the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN), as the organization works in partnership with government, business and community leaders, and philanthropy to continue to grow postsecondary attainment in our state.

Many CMF members engage in the work of MCAN through their Local College Access Networks (LCANs), many of which were initiated through subgrants from The Kresge Foundation to community foundations throughout the state.

MCAN shares in their new 2017 report that in 2016, postsecondary attainment grew slightly from 43.4 percent to 43.7 percent (ages 25-64).

MCAN’s goal is 60 percent postsecondary attainment by 2025. While there’s still a gap to close on attainment, MCAN shares data on college-going perception and culture.

MCAN data at a glance:

  • Nearly 57 percent of Michigan residents think college is very important to be successful in the labor market.

  • About 75 percent of Michigan residents think their child will receive a college education.

  • Almost 66 percent of enrolled students complete the FAFSA.

  • An estimated 69.5 percent of students are enrolled in Michigan’s public universities within six years of graduation, an increase since the baseline was set in 2010.

  • An estimated 42.9 percent of students enrolled in a community college complete, graduate or transfer within six years.

To further close the gap, MCAN has set four priorities over the next four years:

  • Foster a college-going culture.

  • Identify multiple pathways.

  • Improve college affordability.

  • Support credential completion.

On the state level, MCAN is currently working to move the needle further on postsecondary attainment in various ways.

“We expanded our voice at the state capitol, working strategically with policymakers to prioritize postsecondary education and specifically, college affordability,” Sharlonda Buckman, board chair, MCAN wrote in their annual report.

This fall, MCAN, The Kresge Foundation, Business Leaders for Michigan and many others came together to support the Total Talent report, “to urge the incoming Legislature and governor to make talent attainment a top public policy priority.”

In schools, MCAN’s AdviseMI program, which supports college advisors in schools to connect students with resources and tools they need to plan for their future, is reaching more students than ever.

AdviseMI served a total of 19,281 students in 2017 and nearly 15,000 college applications were submitted as a result.

During the school year, the program supported 49 advisors in 59 high schools that serve large populations of low-income and first-generation college students.

On the local level, MCAN highlights the work of LCANs, specifically the work of the Jackson County Cradle to Career Education Network (C2C) in 2017.

C2C is a community-wide, collaborative effort to address social, financial and academic barriers to student success starting in early childhood through adulthood.

Jackson Community Foundation led the creation of C2C, convening workgroups in 2011 and continues to serve as the fiduciary.

C2C which has been recognized for its work by MCAN and the Lumina Foundation for supporting equity while increasing local postsecondary attainment rates.

In May, the Governor’s Office of Foundation Liaison (OFL) and CMF invited members for a career and technical education (CTE) site visit in Jackson which was hosted by the C2C coordinating council.

The Jackson Community Foundation shares, “C2C is taking on the challenge of preparing our children for the new global economy.”

Want more?

Check out MCAN’s annual report.

Learn more about Jackson County C2C Education Network.

Connect with CMF’s P-20 Education Affinity Group.








Battle Creek teachers are utilizing the teacher housing incentives, supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Content excerpted and adapted from a Battle Creek Enquirer article. Read the full article.

We’re getting a first look at the impact a teacher housing incentive grant is having in Battle Creek.

In 2017, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) awarded a grant to the city of Battle Creek that included $750,000 to support housing incentives for Battle Creek Public Schools (BCPS) teachers.

As the Battle Creek Enquirer reported at the time, more than 40 percent of BCPS teachers lived outside of the district and only 16 percent of its administration lived within the city of Battle Creek.

The housing incentives program is designed to attract teachers to live in neighborhoods within the district, providing up to 20 percent of a home's value — or a maximum of $10,000 — for down payment assistance, closing costs or for mortgage buy-downs to reduce monthly mortgage expenses.

The program also provides an incentive of up to $10,000 in matching funds to teachers and administrators buying homes and for those already living in the district who want to make improvements to their existing homes.

The city says the program is working.

So far, seven teachers have received down payment assistance and two other teachers have received assistance to renovate their homes.

About 18 teachers and administrators have applied to purchase or renovate a home.

"It's going great," Chris Lussier, the city's community development manager told the Battle Creek Enquirer. "The goal was to create meaningful incentives for Battle Creek teachers and I think we've done that. We've got a lot of teachers that are taking advantage of this program and it's also successfully attracting teachers to buy and, in some cases, to renovate homes in Battle Creek neighborhoods.”

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